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State of the Union

News/Business. Candy Crowley. (2012)




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America 13, Romney 11, U.s. 10, Washington 7, United States 7, Obama 6, Us 6, Benghazi 4, Pakistan 4, Graham 4, Barack Obama 4, Mitt Romney 3, Lindsey Graham 3, Mike Rogers 3, Dick Durbin 3, Libya 3, Iowa 3, Citi 3, Harry Reid 2, Israel 2,
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  CNN    State of the Union    News/Business.  
   Candy Crowley.  (2012)  

    September 23, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." if you miss a program, go to itunes on monday, get the podcast. it is in the nonfiction tv section of the itunes store. we are back next sunday. state of the union with candy crowley begins right now. the fall campaign opens up. advantage obama. today, mitt's slips. >> i know i am not getting 100% of the vote and my campaign will focus on those people we think we can bring in to support me. >> adding up romney's 47% program with lindsey graham and democratic senator dick durbin. and the deadly attacks on americans in libya. it is apparently not what we thought. the latest from house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers. and who are those people anyway?
i'm candy crowley. and this is "state of the union." as mitt romney struggled to regain footing after his 47% victim remark, the president was contemplating his first four years and a slight change to the hope and change theme. >> you can't change washington from the inside. you can only change it from the outside. that's how i got elected. we are at that point on the campaign where everything becomes fodder on the stump. >> the president threw in the white flag of surrender again. he said he can't change washington from the inside. he can only change it from outside. well, we're going to give him that chance in november. he is going outside. >> that point of the campaign where even the responses do not go unresponded to. >> he stood up in a rally, proud
ly declared i'll get the job done from the inside. what kind of inside job is he talking about? >> we are at that point where there is little time to recover from mistakes, big or small. joining me to assess the outlook for november, democratic senator dick durbin of illinois and republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina. thank you both for joining me this morning. first to you, senator durbin, because we are seen polling indicating that in the battleground states as well as nationwide the president now seems ahead by an amount that is perceptible. as far as you are concerned, where are the biggest danger points for the president message-wise or campaign-wise as he moves forward? >> candy, the momentum has shifted in obama's direction. that's a good thing from our point of view. this is a campaign with three
debates yet and four or five that is none of us could predict on this show. we're not taking it for granted, but we do have momentum coming out of the convention, and some of the problems and mistakes of the romney campaign have given the president more traction in these battleground states with working families. >> and senator graham, to you, why to you think mitt romney is struggling so much? we've talked so much about the history of the numbers as it relates to unemployment or anything else and how it would not be doing well, and yet, mitt romney is the one who is struggling. why? >> well, to be honest with you, i think if history holds here and undecided voters break against the incumbent as they generally do, this is a very close race, and quite frankly, i like our position. >> really? >> the comment the president said we can only change -- >> yes, i really do. i think no one has ever been re-elected with unemployment over 7.6%.
no one has ever been re-elected with an economy this bad and undecided voters break against the incumbent three or four to one. yes. we've talked about mitt romney's tax return. we've talked about his speech, the tape of his speech at a campaign fundraiser. we've talked about his dog being on top of the car, but we're not talking about or they're not talking about what they have done. this idea you can only change washington from the outside, in the first two years of the obama administration, they had 60 united states senators, a big majority democratic majority in the house. they could do anything they wanted to without republican help, and they did. the stimulus was supposed to have us at 6% unemployment. it has been a flop. it grew the government, hasn't created jobs. obama care was supposed to lower premiums for everybody. this $2,200 per person higher, and people will not lose their
health care, 6 or 7 million have been displaced. they promised to reduce the deficit in half in its first term. this went up by 51%. this is why mitt romney is in good shape. during the debates, we're about to focus on four years of barack obama, not everything just about what mitt romney may have said or puts his dog on the car. >> it is true that this president campaigned more than any other, although they all campaign on let's change washington because everybody hates washington, but this president, more than any other, has been one that said i'm going to go in there, and i'm going to change washington, hope and change, hope and change, and now he says, you know what, you really can't change washington. is that a technical mistake, or is it word play? >> the president didn't anticipate when mitch mcconnell said my highest priority, highest priority is not to deal with the recession. not to deal with the cost of health care. not to deal with what's happening on wall street. he said his highest priority was to make sure barack obama was a one-term predent. >> but, again -- >> that really set the stage. >> he did have that democratic
senate and democratic house for half of his tenure. >> and we faced a record number of republican filibusters. remember, when we had 60 votes, we also had a poor situation, a sad situation with ted kennedy going through cancer therapy, unable to attend, and then robert byrd in decline and finally passed away. there were just a few moments when we had 60 votes, but let me get down to the bottom line here. the bottom line is when the american people are asked this basic question, which of these two candidates, obama or romney, do you think is better prepared to move this economy forward in the next four years? overwhelmingly they say it is president obama, and you know why. because romney's approach to politics and this economy as evidenced by his 47% remark writes off so many americans, ignores the economic realities facing middle income families. when he says he wants a tax break of $250,000 a year for the wealthiest people in america, it
means middle income families will pay more taxes. they understand that, and they are not going to support a president who is going to make life even more difficult for those living paycheck to paycheck. >> senator graham, let me ask you, and i know you mentioned this as something that we've been talking about, but mitt romney did put out his tax return for 2011 this past friday. he also put out a summary that was certified from his tax accountant saying, look, here's what i did in the last 20 years, showing that he paid taxes in each of the last 20 years. you were really critical of democratic leader senate majority leader harry reid who i -- who said i have been told he didn't pay any taxes. do you think harry reid owes mitt romney an apology? >> no. i think all this stuff is political fodder. he gave 30% of what he earned away. he is a lot more generous than i am. i don't know about the rest of y'all, too,
but i'm sort of amazed at the generosity of the romneys. >> 4 million. >> he has paid his taxes lawfully. at the bottom line it's not going to be about the speech that he gave at a campaign fundraiser, and quite frankly, it's not going to be about a 14-year-old comment that president obama made about redistribution. it's going to be about you, your family, and let me tell you again, no republican stopped barack obama from doing what he wanted to do in his first two years. he passed the stimulus obama care. he got his major initiative through on a party line vote, and all of them have failed. the reason republicans came back in 2010 and got the house and should have gotten the senate, we made our own mistakes. 2010, it is not because all of a sudden became republicans is because after the first two years of barack obama in this runaway tax and spend train, they wanted us to stop what was going on, and he said in 2009 if i don't get this right in three years, i'll be a
one-term president. well, the gas prices have gone up by over 100%. we've increased the debt by 50%. unemployment at 8% for 37 straight months. the most sluggish recession. nobody is hiring because the threat of higher taxes and overregulation. this is not a sound economy, and this is why mitt romney is going to win the race. >> senator durbin, let me -- my last question on the race in general because i want to ask you all about congress as well at leaving town and the unfinished business. senator, is there not a point here that some of what's happened in the economy or what has not happened in the economy is on the president's doorstep and is that not something that voters should be looking at and, in fact, are looking at? >> candy, we've had 30 straight months, 30 straight months of uptick increase -- >> is it as good as you thought it would be? is it as good as you thought it would be when democrats passed the stimulus bill, when you
passed the health care bill, when we talked about the summer of recovery, is it as good as you thought it would be right now where we are? >> we were all hoping it would be better. we didn't realize the depths of the recession that the president inherited. people feel positively about the future of this economy and this country. jobs are coming back into the united states. we're seng an increase in manufacturing jobs at a rate even greater than the last republican president's administration. let me tell you what i think the bottom line here. the bottom line here is people understand mitt romney. they understand his values. they understand what he is offering is to go back to the same economic policies that created the recession. why are his income tax returns still important? well, he doesn't meet his father's standard. his father set a standard in terms of disclosure. he hasn't met that standard, and there is something in those income tax returns he doesn't want america to see, so he selectively has been disclosing
a few things here and there. he is still the first presidential candidate in history with a swiss bank account. pardon me? >> there's nothing that suggests that there's something illegal that has gone on. i grant you, we haven't seen all of them for the past 20 years, but are you not, in effect, blaming the player when what you ought to do is blame the game. it is the irs system, and he took advantage of it, which i do, which i assume both of you do. >> but let me tell you why it's important, candy. it confirms the suspicion of independent and undecided voters that mitt romney is out of touch with the average american and middle income family, and he doesn't have a plan that's going to help them have a better situation in the future. it just confirms some of his earlier statements about his values and writing off 47% of the american people. that's why the income tax returns are so important. the fact that he has a swiss bank account, it's legal, but he is the first presidential candidate to ever have one. >> senator graham, you cannot dismiss the fact that people do vote on the basis of does this guy or woman some year hopefully understand who i am?
does he understand the struggles i go through? this is a man who has been wealthy from the moment he was born. this is a man who has said a lot of things that cause voters out there to go whoa. he doesn't get me at all. including the 47%. you can say this is not going to be about tax returns. it's not going to be about this, but it is going to be about who this guy is, who people perceive mitt romney to be. is it not? >> i think it's going to be about your bank account, not his swiss bank account. it's going to be about your job, whether you have one, or whether you are afraid of losing it. at the end of the day, mitt romney and ann romney are two fine people. at our convention we showcased who they are when the camera is nott on, helping people in a way that just really touched my heart. this election is about the economy and the future of america. after four years of barack obama, obama economics, everything they promised hasn't come true. the stimulus.
we were supposed to be at 6%. why aren't we? obama care, if you pass it, premiums will go down. they're going up. i promise you i'll reduce the deficit in my first term. it's gone up 50%. >> to the question, senator graham. >> you fill up your car, ask yourself, is president obama's energy policies good for you and your family? go to the gas pump. go look on your 401k statement. >> isn't the question would mitt romney have donnie better, and don't people look at him and think he doesn't get me? >> oh, that's what this is about, yes. he -- during the debates he will tell you i'm about to repeal obama care and work with democrats to replace with something that matters. i'm not going to have another stimulus package that grows the governme, doesn't create jobs. i'm going to give you certainty in your taxes. i'm going to take the epa that's made it very hard for people to grow their business and reform the regulatory side. i'm going to bring you certainty in taxes, and we're going to stop spending money like a drunken sailor. yes, the debates will be about
what he will do, but nobody wants to talk out what barack obama has done. we'll talk about romney's tax returns, and the reason everyone talks about everything else but what they've done is because he has failed to deliver as he promised as president of the united states. >> i have to leave it there. senator lindsey graham, senator dick durbin, thank you both so much for getting up on a sunday morning. i appreciate it. >> thanks, candy. >> thank you. confusion reigns over the death of four americans. the latest on the investigation is next. hmm, it says here that cheerios helps lower cholesterol
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thousands of libyans took to the streets friday to protest the murder of u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. they demand the the disarming of militias that helped to take moammar gadhafi's regime. the demonstrations add to urn certainty surrounding libya, and more than a week after the killing inside the u.s. consulate in benghazi, we know less than we were so sure of the day it happened. at the time u.s. officials indicated there was no intelligence indicating a specific threat that may be technically true, but there is word now that days before the
attack there were warnings about insufficient security in benghazi and the potential for an attack. it leads to questions. >> i don't know how you argue we weren't caught flat-footed. they stormed our consulate, were successful in that and killed our ambassador and three other employees. that is being caught flat-footed. >> as well, the administration's early line was that the attack was not premeditated. that it was the spontaneous work of a handful of people who used a broader protest over an anti-muslim movie as cover to murder the americans. it turns out maybe there wasn't even a broader protest. we are still unsure. >> what happened in benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four americans. >> so far libyan authorities have detained eight people. up next, house intelligence
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i'm joined now by chairman mike rogers. thank you for being here. >> good to be here. >> tell me what we now know about what happened in benghazi in the murder of those four americans? >> there's still a little bit of confusion, but it's very clear, as even i said last week, this had to be a preplanned event. we know it was an act of terrorism. i think the administration has come to the conclusion it's an act of terrorism now. we had two separate events. you see what's playing out now with people trying to get their militias under control, which those -- that's been a huge problem. i think this is more than that. this is clearly a specific attack on our u.s. embassy, and it kills a u.s. ambassador -- well, that's still unclear. there's still some indication that they may have, in fact, known the ambassador was either there or in the area at the time of the attack, but 9/11 is probably more important to that equation than even the ambassador. i do think this was wildly
successful even beyond their dreams to be able to kill, you know, the american face in libya, our united states ambassador, and -- >> in what way? who were they? >> we don't know for sure and for certain yet. we have at least i look at the information have a high degree of probability that it is an al qaeda or al qaeda affiliated group that had a very specific target in mind, and that was to attack the consulate and cause them as much harm, chaos, and death as possible. >> was there, in fact, a protest about the film going on outside the consulate at the time this occurred, or was this just a one off attack? >> i believe this was an attack. the notion about the film and i think the administration was ill-advised to push down that road. >> to assume that that's why everybody was there, but my broader question that i want you to also say that, but the -- my broader question is if we were told that there was outside the consulate a protest going on as there have been in 20 or more countries about this film and
that somehow inside that group there were people who were heavily armed who launched this attack, was it any protest at all going on? >> i have seen no information that shows that there was a protest gog on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. it was clearly designed to be an attack, and what's so agreening -- egregious about this is that why every american should be offended, this isn't about george bush and barack obama, and it is not about democrats. they targeted and killed the face of the united states of america, a u.s. ambassador, and three embassy employees who were there dedicated to work in the united states of america. this is a serious event as i have ever seen, and it's been confusing to try to follow where the administration has been. i'm disappointed the president didn't say i'm not going to the fundraiser. i am going to go on national tv and put this right. americans deserve the truth. they deserve the facts. they deserve to tell the world we will not tolerate a u.s.
ambassador being treated badly, let alone killed. >> a stronger message from the president, a more national message is what you had hoped for. >> a strong message, but some message of america. the president needs to go on tv and set this right. it can't be about the election. it has to be about an american ambassador that was kied. this is our foreign policy, our national security here is at stake. he needs to be out front and leading on this issue. he shouldn't wait until after. -- until after november. >> can i put you in the column of those republicans that are upset with the administration for a lack of communication with those of you in congress who have this particular perview? >> i'm in a different role. i'm the chairman of the intelligence committee. we not only get formal briefings, but we collect our information from the intelligence community in a variety of ways. i have heard the complaints. i did go to the briefing and thought not a lot came out of it, and it seemed that they doubled down. they doubled down. i think they thought they were boxed in a corner, and they had to double down on their information.
it was -- it was a little confusing to me. i didn't understand why they chose to do that. then i think they made a follow-on mistake by buying the advertisement in pakistan. the administration gave credibility to this video that certainly nobody in america had seen and very few across the middle east. >> you're talking about there was advertisement in pakistan of both secretary of state hillary clinton and the president saying we had nothing to do with this film? bad idea you think? >> horrible idea. it gave credibility and it gave a permission slip to al qaeda, to pakistani officials. you saw the minister come out and say he was offering $100,000 to the death of the person who produced the video. this is a minister of the government of pakistan. it gave a permission slip because of this attention and credibility that was given to this video that should not have been gibb by our president and our secretary of state. as you have seen, it hasn't been effective. i'm not sure who gave them the advice. i thought it was horrible advice. i think they have exacerbated the problem, and i think hopefully we shake ourselves out of this. this is a national security
issue that we'll have to deal with whomever wins in november. this is a big deal for the national security of the united states of america. >> let me read to you something that mohammed morsi, the president of egypt, as you know, said to the "new york times". he was talking about the blowback that we have seen across the middle east. he said "successive american administrations essentially purchased with american taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of this region." is this the word of an ally here? is this what you want the guy to be saying? we're giving them money? we're -- >> very concerning, and here's the problem. they have -- after he was elected in violation of the treaty of israel, they moved heavy army, and they did it on their own. we're not dealing very well with it. what you are finding is he has a horrible economic problem in his country. he has a huge problem to deal with.
it's best in those times a politician like morsi to find somebody to blame. he is tough on the united states. he is going to be tough on israel. don't worry about the fact that you don't have a job or a future in egypt. >> you are giving him money. i guess that's the concern. >> well -- >> i understand that we need to try to stabilize and that you supported the administration saying, look, we have to be players here. we can't just, you know, walk away, but the fact of the matter is that every time you turn around, the president, i get that he is playing to his home audience, is saying things that undermine how his citizenry look at the u.s., which is giving them money. >> this is the huge problem here. it's not just in this particular case. it's in the protests over the film. those governments are using that to incite trouble, violence, and political happiness with their own regimes in those particular countries. >> it makes us the bad guys, and they look better. >> absolutely. that's why engagement and being aggressive diplomatically as well as follow-through is so
important all across the middle east. i had a very senior middle eastern arab nation intelligence official after our meeting -- i said what would you ask of the united states if i could make you king for a day. he said please tell me what your middle east policy is. that's caused that confusion, that lack of this sense of disengagement, it is causing us huge problems, and that's why i thought the reaction to what happened with the president and the secretary creating a television ad in pakistan was just adding -- was fermenting the problem and giving permission slips for all of the bad actors to do bad things. >> quickly, regarding syria. dan, adviser to mitt romney, was on tv the other day talking about how it's been a year since the president said, you know, assad has to go. he is still there. he is still killing his own people, and he said the u.s. looks impotent. do you agree with that assess
-- assessment? >> i just returned from the region recently. there is frustration in the region about the lack of leadership from the united states on this issue. i do think a slow walk to this was probably the right path. the problem is you have to do that with a sense of leadership by bringing people together. that part was missing. the slow walk was there with no u.s. leadership trying to bring turkey and the qatarese and jordanians to the table. >> one word answer. the u.s. looks impotent when it comes to syria? >> they're not looking good right now. let's put it that way, candy. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much. a huge majority of voters have already settled on president obama or mitt romney. next, a closer look at that small group who hasn't decided. . our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar.
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six weeks until the election of one of two men with entirely different ideas about the role of government and the best direction for the country. how is it then that a pew survey finds about 7% of registered voters nionwide are what
pollsters call pure undecideds. they have not indicated a preference for any candidate. the dynamic holds true in key battleground states like ohio, virginia, and florida with just 6% or less of the electorate undecided. 5%, even 7% is not much, but in the right place it's more than enough to decide an election. up next profiling and targeting the undecided with pollsters wit ayers and ann gra greenberg and cnn political analyst ben brownstein. there are patients who will question, why does my mouth feel dryer than i remember it to be? there are more people taking more medication, so we see people suffering from dry mouth more so. we may see more cavities, bad breath, oral irritation. a dry mouth sufferer doesn't have to suffer. i would recommend biotene. the enzymes in biotene products
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joining me republican pollster wit ayers and dana greenburg and susan paige, and ron brown. my goodness, don't have to say a word. i'm just going to throw it to the floor. "saturday night live" because -- you hear a lot of folks going they can't possibly know anything if they haven't decided yet. who are these undecided voters? >> candy, they tend to be more independent than democrat or republican. they're less engaged. they're just now paying attention. we know from exit polling that about one out of ten voters made their decision in 2004 and 2008 in the last week, and in 2008 they split equally between mccain and obama, as you would expect in an open seed race. in 2004 they broke for kerry the challenger over bush the incumbent, which is also typical of an incumbent re-election. i think we're likely to see the same this time with late deciding voters breaking for romney rather than obama. >> because generally, anna, isn't that sort of how it generally works is that the president is well known, so if they're undecided a week before, you clearly know they have problems with the president and that they should break for mitt romney, but not necessarily.
>> well, i think that's right. they should break for romney, but a couple things about that number. probably half of the undecideds are not voters. we know that people say they're going to vote, and they aren't actually voters, and so some of them just truly -- they really are the most disengaged. so really maybe -- it may be two or three percentage really. it's that small. you know, it's actually -- while it seems hard for us to imagine not paying attention to the election. it's actually not all that hard. media. a lot of people are watching a lot of different things. they're taking care of their kids and working. you know, it really is for a lot of people just starting, and i think the convenons and the choice for some people. >> i think that the universe is big, though, than 2% or 3% or even 7% usa gallop poll shows one in five registered voters said it was possible they would change their mind. >> persuadables. >> persuadables. that means an event like the debate that you're going to moderate, candy, could have an affect on these people that are loosely tied to one candidate or the other. >> the one thing that's striking about people that call
themselves undecided, we have pew and the "wall street journal" accumulate the polls. they are negative on both candidates to an unusual degree. you go back to 2004. people are undecided if the fall and express favorable views of both john kerry and george w. bush where this year it's the opposite. romney's favorable unfavorable is miserable among the undecided voters. i mean, it is possible that a lot of these people are calling undecided. you look at both of these and not vote. i wonder if the key variable in this election is really who we're talking about as undecided or whether, more importantly, is whether each side can change the electorate by bringing out their base. in other words, it's not the numerator. it's the denominator. >> that's where my next question was going. it doesn't seem to me the messages we are hearing off the campaign trail are aimed at persuadables. it seems that they are aimed directly at the base. it is just hard core campaigning. >> voting has started. we have early vote in many states.
we have absentee ballots going out in many states. you know, probably half the electorate is going to vote for -- before election day, so part of what is happening is that they are speaking to their base because they're starting to vote in important swing states like iowa, for example. >> and the biggest achievement of the democratic convention was in increasing democratic enthusiasm. we've seen that lag all year and then suddenly now equal or even an advantage for democrats, so democratic core voters got engaged and excited by bill clinton's speech, michelle obama's speech, president obama's speech at the convention, and that may turn out to be the most significant thing that's happened in the end of this campaign. >> go ahead. >> in 2008 there were 7 percentage points, more democrats than republicans new york the electorate. -- in the electorate. that's the largest advantage for democrats in 14 years. in 2004 it was absolutely equal. in 2010 it was absolutely equal between democrats and republicans.
so the obama campaign better hope that they have an electorate that looks more like 2008 than like 2004 or 2010. >> that is absolutely critical. 2004, just to be clear, was the only time in history of modern polling that republicans equaled democrats as a share of the electorate in a presidential year, but i agree. i mean, i think the obama campaign is basically rovian in its view of the electorate in that they view it is more cost efficient to find a voter who agrees with you and might not vote than it is to persuade the kind of classic swing voter and, you know, this election, i mean, many things could tip this election, but as important as any will be, what is the minority share of the vote? we have an enormous ratio of disparity where obama is running twice as well among non-whites as whites. it was 26% in 2008. it could be enormously influential whether it's 26 again, 27, or 25. the campaigns i think are very much focused on that composition of the electorate through their ground games and turnout efforts >> and you're starting to see t
groups that are holding back our democratic leaning findings are moved more solid for the president. voters under 30 very weak compared to four years ago, and they're then movg back. we're starting to see it by the way at the congressional level. some of the groups are also -- it reflects, i think, democratic enthusiasm coming out of convention and also the way the direct voter contacted the obama campaign is doing. >> if you looking at the upcoming debates as the mechanics to last three chances that these two candidates will get to address a huge group of people, do you say to your republican candidate or to your democratic candidate go out there and talk to the folks who are with you, or do you say, hey, you're going to be on a big national stage, so d't go crazy left or don't go crazy right? >> we're at the start of the fourth quarter, and mitt romney is behind by a field goal. it's just that close. he needs to score points. he is behind, but not by very much. it's an average of 3.3% as of a real clear politics average this morning, so he needs to score points.
the most important thing that mitt romney can do is give people confidence that he knows how to fix this economy. they don't believe obama has or can, but they are not yet persuaded that mitt romney can either. that's the most important thing to come out of your debate. >> we're going to pick up with that thought in just a second, but for months romney supporters have had the same answer about the likability gap. >> when they get to know him, i think they'll like what they see. >> people are still getting to know governor romney. >> as people get to know the real mitt romney and not the one that president obama is talking about, i think they're going to be satisfied and very happy with the choices they have. >> but isn't this a case of voters simply not liking what they're seeing?
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>> anna greenburg, washington bureau chief susan paige, and political analyst ron brownstein. let's pick up where we left off, which is you're advising these candidates. what do they do in these debates? do they go central or straight to the base? >> i think it's about temperament, and i think part of what romney needs to do in these
debates is show he is consistent, even-keeled, that he is the campaign is -- they're all over the place does not sure what they're doing, and if you think back to 2008 debates how important it was, that contrast between president obama and john mccain. john mccain looked eradic and uncomfortable. i think that's a really important piece of this debate for romney. >> ultimately, president obama got 52.8% last time. i think the challenges are somewhat different. romney does have a challenge of cutting into the president's base. if you look at the poll right now, one story that's simple in this election is that the groups that were skeptical of obama to begin, primarily blue collar whites and senior whites, have been moving generally somewhat further away from him in this election than they were in 2008. if you look at the polling poll out this week, the groups that were strong for obama, romney is not cutting into. i think that's largely a function of choices he made in the primary on social issues that are hurting him with upscale white women and on immigration with hispanics.
but you look at three key pillars, young people, minorities, and college educated whites, especially women, he is returning very close to his '08 numbers among those groups, which were enough for a majority. so the challenge for romney ultimately, he has more, i think, necessity to reach out beyond where he is than the president does. >> i think that's true. what a different kind of race we had in 2008. now we've got an electorate that is disappointed with the president of 2008 but not convinced that the challenger offers a good alternative. so it makes it a smaller meaner kind of race, think, because you see this battle for a half a percentage point here or can i get a little bit more enthusiasm here for a race where people are not that happy, not that excited about their choices. >> but it's important to keep an eye on the big picture here. the big picture is the economy. if you want to predict how
barack obama's vote goes in a state or demographic group, all you need to know is how many people approve of his handling of the economy. not overall but the handling of the economy. right now you have less than majority that approves of his handling of the economy. >> under 50% is a danger zone for an incumbent. >> absolutely. and the door is open for mitt romney to get those people who are dissatisfied with barack obama's handling of the economy. that is his task over the next six weeks. >> and that's what he's failed to do so far, get people to walk through the door that's been open all year. >> as a matter of fact, people's perception of the economy is getting better, whether consumer confidence or gallup tracking, their perception of the economy is improving. it's coming from democrats and independents. i think it's harder and harder for romney to make this a referendum on economy. that's why i go back to part two of his vulnerabilities is being elite and out of touch. the other not being sure what he stands for. i know debates are about substance. if he can't convey those two things, i think it's hard if
there are not persuadables levels to meet them. >> look. a lot of numbers we've been throwing out. to me it comes down two numbers. for president obama, it's 80/40. if he holds that number in 2012 and they represent at least the 26% of the vote they did last time, he can win a majority with 40% of whites. that's it. within that i think the biggest is holding the president not on economic grounds. they have suffered in the economy, but romney has offered very little, particularly on immigration. and the college white women. and the part of the challenge that romney mass is a big chunk of the modern democratic vote ultimately is not moved by the economy and he's positioned himself in way that leaves himself very little access to those voters. he is positioned with very little access to the voters. according to gallup data, 68% is dissatisfied with the country, yes, these down from 78%. so we've gone from absolutely horrible to really, really bad.
>> but the numbers are moving in the right direction. it is not the numbers, what direction. >> let me ask you because in our final two minutes i want to talk about down ballot. we've said a lot about whether democrats can possibly take back control of the house where the republicans can take control of the senate. tommy thompson who you know is a republican, wisconsin democrat, he says he believes his numbers falling is partially due to romney's fall. what's happening down-ballot. >> what's happening is down races. 16 of them are incredibly competitive. >> they're more competitive now than they used to be, correct? >> we're at the lowest since 1960 and there's an overwhelming correlation. 85% of romney voters voting
republican in senate races, even in 2010 the biggest republican year since 1938, nine states where obama was 47% or above. democrats won eight of them. 15 he was 47 or below, republicans won 13 of them. you can run, you can't hide. the president will have an enormous impact on the races. >> i have to leave it there, i'm sorry. i hope you come back. this has been great fun. i've learned a lot. next up, mitt romney looks to the heavens to highlight his latest criticism of president obama. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help people and businesses who were affected, and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy -- and many areas are reporting their best trism seasons in years. we've shared what we've learned with governments and across the industry so we can all produce energy more safely. i want you to know, there's another commitment bp takes just as seriously: our commitment to america.
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time now for a check of the top stories. a giant panda cub born a week ago at the national zoo has died. panda keepers heard distressed sounds from the cub's mother this morning. vets were able t retrieve the cub and perform life-saving measures, but the cub didn't respond. giant pandas are an endangered species. female pandas only have a 48 hour window each year to conceive. mitt romney promises to reinvigorate the u.s. space program.
he the republican presidential nominee says president obama has weakened nasa and conceded america's position as a leader in space exploration. romney says his administration would implement a four-point space plan that would include having nasa focus more on national security. first lady michelle obama says it's important to make sure no one is denied the right to vote. her comments at last night's congressional black caucus's annual banquet comes as more than a dozen states have new voter i.d. laws that critics say is unfair to minorities, the elderly, and college students. the election isn't until november 6 but ballot casting begins in some states. early voting begins in iowa thursday, it is already under way in iowa and south dakota. you probably heard about that ancient piece of papyrus that refers to jesus having a wife, a new testament scholar says it looks more like a forgery. he says it looks authentic but the writing on it is a modern translation of old coptic language andth